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Wrist Control

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Post by crmath 7/23/2021, 8:07 pm

OK guys, I need some help.  I shot with the USAR Service Rifle Team in the 1980s.  HM, Distinguished, 4xPresident’s Hundred.  I like to think I know something about marksmanship, but I’m stumped.  I’m a firm believer in Bill Pullum’s concept of “the integrated act of firing a shot” - focus on doing all the right things.  Focus on not doing something that’s wrong is counterproductive.

My problem is this, and it’s stupid.  I’ve taken the opportunity of the pandemic to avoid squadded practice to dry fire.  I have a 60 shot regimen I repeat at least five days a week with a 1911 service pistol (4lb trigger).  Part of the regimen is 20 slow fire shots at a bullseye; I’m satisfied that most of my shots break pretty well, sight alignment stays stable through the break and into follow through.  When I go to the range and rack a round into the chamber all bets are off.  I can lift the pistol, take up the slack, align the sights, and lower my aim through the bullseye and everything looks just like it does at home.  As my hold starts to settle and I begin my squeeze the front sight starts to oscillate left to right and too fast to count. As I continue to squeeze the  amplitude increases to the point that the front sight almost disappears from the rear sight notch.  Abort the shot and try again.

The casual observer might diagnose my affliction as performance anxiety.  I know what that feels like - butterflies, knee-high wind, adrenaline shakes that just don’t stop - like a new shooter in the NTT.  It’s not like that at all; I wish it were - I know how to channel that.  The more informed might observe that l’m gripping much too tightly during live fire, maybe tightening my grip as I squeeze.  I believe the latter to be true, but it doesn’t feel that way.  Or I don’t know how to tell the difference.

Someone out there knows exactly the right words to make it click for me.  Something I should feel in my wrist? Something to focus on during dry fire to achieve a dependably firm wrist?  Something to make grip tension consistent?  Something to cure a serious case of operator headspace?

All comments and insights welcome, except “stop doing that”.

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Post by TomH_pa 7/23/2021, 8:29 pm

As another rifle shooter learning pistol, I think the trigger control we learn to shoot a rifle well is somewhat detrimental to good pistol shooting. It has been difficult for me to get the trigger going when the sight is still moving but that's exactly what must happen for a good one handed pistol shot.
Maybe try turning the target around backwards and fire at the blank side while focusing on sight alignment only.

The harder you try not to do something, the more you do it.
 
Hopefully someone will be along with better advice than me.

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Post by Jon Eulette 7/23/2021, 8:38 pm

Are you breaking down the fundamentals into separate training exercises or just trying to dry fire good shots in your training regimen?
Unfortunately most guys think they are training but merely going through the motions. If you train each fundamental individually you learn it and know whether it is a strength or a weakness. Once you find a weakness you should work on it more than the strengths to balance things out. When you do train your shot process the subconscious fundamentals will be executed behind the scenes while you focus on what you think to be the most important single fundamental; typically trigger pull. In your case you are having an issue with tremors/stability and should focus on what you think is going to help minimize the problem. You said 4# trigger pull weight. If your trigger is a heavy 4# vs a 4# that breaks fast then that can be an issue; 4# doesn’t always equal 4#. 
If you shoot a 22 with a 2# trigger pull do you have the same problems?
As a gunsmith I can do a trigger job that feels great in the shop but feels like crap at the range. Shooting anxiety is real and does exist. 
Your training can circumvent some of the anxiety issues by how you attack the trigger pull. Waiting too long to start the trigger squeeze and holding too long are detrimental to good shooting.
Always go back to the basics. There is no such thing as advanced shooting methods; you know this. The fundamentals are your friend, I would start there and focus on your hold from your shoulder to your grip. Training is more than shooting 10’s. It’s learning what a 10 looks like and feels like.
Jon
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Post by crmath 7/23/2021, 9:22 pm

Jon,

Thanks for the reply. I’m fairly confident that I know how to train and work on fundamentals.  I did it with an M14 - mostly by myself with Bill Pullum’s book ‘Position Rifle Shooting’.

I agree exactly with your statement:

 “In your case you are having an issue with tremors/stability and should focus on what you think is going to help minimize the problem.l


I know I need to focus on the wrist tremor, I just don’t know how to go about it.


My trigger barely picks up 4 pounds and is crisp enough that I notice no motion unless I specifically focus on it.  I think it’s good enough.  I’m using a Nelson conversion on my Service Pistol frame to enable practice with a .22.  It’s been more than a year since I last shot my Model 41, but the problem was there, too.


I’d hoped that the break in live fire practice and the extended period of dry fire would resolve the issue, but it didn’t.


For what it’s worth, the first drill in my dry fire regimen is an alignment exercise.  I just focus on alignment against a blank wall and squeeze until the hammer falls.  Alignment stays stable through ten reps.  If I saw during live fire what I see in this drill there would be no reason for this post.

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Post by Jon Eulette 7/23/2021, 9:26 pm

So at home your not having issues with the tremors but at the range you are? Only at the range?
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Post by crmath 7/23/2021, 9:39 pm

Jon,

Yes, pretty much.  Hence the remark about “operator headspace”.

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Post by Jon Eulette 7/23/2021, 10:12 pm

Ok thanks, I wanted to verify before responding.

Once upon a time I was young and held hard and shot consistently good scores and was competitive nationally. Fast forward to middle age and a torn labrum and that hold disappeared. Problem is my brain still remembers the hold of yesteryear. It makes it very difficult to execute shots when the sights/dot isn’t centered. My brain is still trying to wait for what it vividly remembers what a good shot used to look like. I’ve had to change how I approach my shot process to break good shots although less than perfect aim/hold.
But it’s always like this both at home dry firing and at the range. I have no control over my hold, but I do have control of how I’m going to break the shot.

So if we treat your problem and my problem like a math problem, my math is constant and yours is variable.
I struggle with my hold both at home and on the range. 
Your math problem has a variable. At home your hold is fine and at the range you have a tremor. What is causing the variable?
I’ve coached shooters for the last 30 years. If I was to look at my experience both as a top level shooter and a coach, it would lead me to first think that there is a mental breakdown in your shooting process. Anxiety for lack of a better term is what I believe to be having a large impact on your shooting process.
It’s not meant to be an insult, it’s the only variable in the shot process between dry firing at home and the range. I have my own anxiety issues I deal with every time I shoot whether practice or a match. 
I recommend lots of deep breathing to help you relax between shots during live practice. I also recommend alternating live and dry fire shots at the range. This will help you evaluate if your feeling it more during a live fire shot or not.
When I dry fire I spend about 85% on blank wall and 15% using an aiming point or target. The blank wall doesn’t show how bad my hold is, where the target shows it immediately. The visual lack of hold is a huge game changer. So it is important to execute good breaking shots even though your sight picture is less than perfect. You can still shoot lots of 10’s like this; area aiming/accepting your hold. Still sucks though lol.
Obviously the wrist cannot be locked and only held firm by supporting muscles. Most wrist issues I see are magnified during trigger squeeze or recoil. 
I wish there was an easy answer, but in my very opinionated opinion (no offense), I believe the variable is induced mentally. The brain likes to see a perfect hold and when it’s not there we can do things that affect good breaking shots.
If you find that it’s something else I look forward to hearing about it.
I think I would work on stance, and grip. Once in your stance straighten your arm out on the bench. Lock your arm in place. Lift arm allowing it to only move at the shoulder. In other words rigid mechanical lift. Lift above the target. Pause to get sight alignment. Lowering and squeeze trigger simultaneously. Break shot sooner than later. Follow through then lower. I think follow through is overrated, but you are training your shooting arm to be rigid from the lift through the follow through and lowering the pistol. If you watch most lower classed shooters, their lift and lower is all over the place. The HM is more rigidly executed and as precise as the shot!
I’ve dabbled at rifle and in comparison to pistol find it easier to maintain a good hold. I know a lot of rifle shooters who have come over to the pistol side of the house and most of them struggle. Years ago I have heard many funny stories about Lones Wigger and a 45. David Paquette is a rare bird rifle shooter who has made a rapid rise into the pistol game and is doing very well. Hopefully he will chime in and possibly could help out a fellow rifle shooter.
Thanks for reaching out, we all want you to overcome this and succeed.
Jon
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Post by CR10X 7/24/2021, 6:18 am

What you are experiencing is not that unusual.  

When pistol shooting there are groups of muscles that are protagonist and antagonist.  The protagonist muscles are on the upper wrist, arm and shoulder.  The antagonist muscles are basically on the lower side of the wrist arm and shoulder.  The protagonist muscles allow us to raise the gun onto the target.  However, to hold them is place, the antagonist muscles will be needed to help maintain the position as the shooter seeks to develop a consistent wobble.  So as we hold the gun on the target AREA, there are a lot of nerve impulses saying "go here" then "go there" then "no back that way" to our muscles as we develop the appropriate strength and consistency. 

Then we have the trigger finger, which must operate separately and the controlling tendons and nerves also run through the wrist and upper arm.  As those nerves/muscles are going through the same learning process as we  try to develop our consistent shot process.  

So with pistol shooting all the supporting actions and the "triggering" actions take place in the same physical areas (hand / wrist / arm).  This is a very unusual physical feeling, especially for rifle shooters that are accustomed to much more physical support from many other muscles in the body.  With pistol shooting almost all the support is from the arm (for what we see as wobble) and the trigger is operated with that arm as well. 

Add that to the mental state of going from "dryfiring" to actual live firing and a lot of nerves get "juiced up" and ready to do something. The thing is that we need to help train the nerves to respond appropriately so the muscles are controlled properly.  

Suggestion number 1:

First, dryfire at a blank wall / no target.  A lot.  See the front sight in the rear notch and make keeping them aligned the only priority.  Set up the position so that the hand / wrist / lower arm / and upper arm through the shoulder are (feel like) one unit.  NEVER move your wrist, you can't lock it, but you can keep it straight and in line with the lower arm.  If you need to move your position on the target, the rear foot is all you need to move. Forward or back for vertical, left or right for horizontal. 

Then you can move to dryfiring with a target to distract you.  It should be the same apparent size as you would see on the 50 yard range.

See the front sight and make keeping the sights aligned the only priority.  (The input from the target in your visual area is inducing additional nerve impulses that add to the "confusion of inputs" when you are actually firing a shot, which is a different mental state than your dryfiring at this point in your development.)  So the important part of this dryfiring exercise is to have the target there, but do not let it influence the grip or trigger process. Then you transfer that mental state / feeling to the range when you live fire.

For pistol shooting with open sights, once you learn to ignore the target and keep the sights aligned throughout the shot process (even if there is a round in the gun), everything else becomes a lot easier.

Suggestion number 2:

You need train your trigger finger to work completely separately from the other fingers / thumb / hand / wrist / arm muscles.

That takes some different training.  Try a hand exerciser that has separate springs for each of the four fingers.  Hold the lower three fingers compressed with equal pressure and work only the trigger finger (without changing any pressure on the other 3 fingers).

Get a double action revolver.  Go back to suggestion number 1.  Use the revolver in double action mode to do that training.

CR

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Post by crmath 7/24/2021, 7:32 am

Hi this is a note from Will Newton, Admin.  I made a huge mistake and meant to quote this post and ended up editing it by accident.  I apologize for this, it is the first time it has ever happened.  I can’t undo my changes and bring back the original post, but I will leave my post here, so everyone can get the gist of what was originally posted.  The original text is in bold, my replies follow.  I had trimmed a bit of the original post to just quote what I was replying to, but a fair bit of the original is here.  All apologies again, this was a silly mistake and I should have been more careful.
 
I agree, but during my blank wall exercise I focus on sight alignment and can see minor errors that I constantly try to correct.  I don’t consciously think about it as such, but the only source for those errors is my wrist and the only way to correct them is with the wrist.  Am I missing something important?

Possibly.  Shift some of your focus to acceptance of this wobble, not correction of it.  Focus on an “aiming area”.  The size of that area will shrink over time with practice. This is Bullseye you are going to sway.  Acceptance of this fact will cut down on the distracting inner dialogue and physical over-corrections.

If we truly focused on the front sight the target disappeared completely

Yes, that is close to what you want to see, a sharp front sight, slight unfocused rear sight, blurry target.

Thanks again for the advice. It’s truly delightful to interact with people who actually understand the process.

Between Jon and Cecil, you got two of the best teachers on the forum helping you out.  Spend some time on The Encyclopedia of Bullseye Pistol site as well.  http://www.bullseyepistol.com/

Welcome to the forum, it is always good to have folks new to Bullseye, but with shooting experience in other areas.  There does seem to be an adjustment period for rifle guys, as there is a bit of unlearning to do, but the discipline that made you a good rifle marksman will 100% transfer over.

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Post by CR10X 7/24/2021, 8:14 am

Your "errors" are probably coming more from inconsistent grip pressure and the trigger press.   Once in your comfortable position the wrist is never moved to compensate for anything.  To do so is just adding another larger set of muscles and nerves to try and control.  The hand, wrist, arm and shoulder should feel like a single unit and the trigger press should feel like it's coming straight back through all those into the shoulder/ body. The grip should be extremely firm and consistent.

You probably want to have it feel like your hold/ wobble area or arm position over the aiming area is controlled more by the biceps area of the upper arm, not anything near the hand or wrist.

As for focus or see, I'll say it this way.  If there is a speck of dust on the front sight,  it should be clearly visible to you.

Hope some of this helps or at least helps you find your own path.

CR

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Post by crmath 7/24/2021, 8:48 am

Jon,

I tried to post a reply to your message from last night but it didn’t show up here.  It was kind of long-winded and I probably forgot to hit send before I exited.

Anyway, thanks for the prompt, insightful reply.

I completely agree that the issue is mental.  “Operator headspace” was the service rifle euphemism. My subconscious is taking control and my conscious mind hasn’t found a way to do anything about it.  We have to change that.

What I’m hoping for is some kind of artifice I can focus on that will force my wrist to be stable.  Your mention of follow through reminds me of a good example.  Beginning rifle shooters often suffer from anticipation.  I found that if I could convince them to maintain pressure on the trigger and watch the front sight through recoil that their problems went away.  Extended follow through had no effect on the bullet, but forcing themselves to continue aiming through the shot break eliminated a host of issues and their shots started showing up on call.

I believe I need to determine if my subconscious is trying to keep the front sight where it needs to be but not doing it well, or if I’m subconsciously tightening my grip so much that a tremor is induced that builds as I continue to squeeze.  

I think it’s the latter.  The symptoms are there but I can’t sense the difference.

I plan to follow your suggestion and emphasize blank wall alignment exercises more.  I think I’ll also try some blank target live fire drills.

If I find something that works I’ll be sure to provide the details.

It’s refreshing to interact with folks whose lexicon extends beyond “Stop doing that”.

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Post by Ed Hall 7/24/2021, 8:51 am

I see CR posted as I was creating this reply. I hope to expand on his reply
crmath wrote:. . .
I’d like to to focus on your discussion of blank wall dry fire.  That’s a component of my practice regimen, though I think I should emphasize it more.  You state that I should NEVER move my wrist.  I agree, but during my blank wall exercise I focus on sight alignment and can see minor errors that I constantly try to correct.  I don’t consciously think about it as such, but the only source for those errors is my wrist and the only way to correct them is with the wrist.  Am I missing something important?
. . .
I'd like to address this specific section a bit.  A common problem faced, is just what I gather from your description.

We tend to concentrate on the idea of keeping the sights aligned through the trigger operation.  As you mention, you correct these errors with your wrist, but I believe you incorrectly diagnose the errors as coming from your wrist.  They are probably from your trigger operation.  It's possible, you are trying to be too precise with your trigger and am operating it so slowly that you are actually misaligning with your trigger and correcting with your wrist.  Usually this will manifest as a slight jump in the sights at hammer fall.

The correction for this is to speed up the trigger some by making it determined, start to finish and watch the sight alignment.  You may need to move your finger around some to find the best position.  I usually suggest the following steps:

With the gun set up for dry firing and kept pointed in a safe direction,

1. without looking at the gun, operate the trigger (you can do this in your lap while sittng as long as the gun is pointed safely) - Dry fire it with the sole intention of learning what a good determined trigger is.  Take note of how long it takes from start to hammer fall.

2. now look at the gun and perform the same operation.  Be determined to have the same feel/timing.  Go back and forth between these two steps until the gun looks steady.  You may need to adjust your trigger finger.

3. move to a blank wall and do the same trigger operation while observing your sight alignment.  Work all three steps if needed.

4. finally, move to the distracting bullseye and work toward the same trigger operation as for the other steps.

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Post by crmath 7/24/2021, 9:16 am

CR,

Thanks for the quick reply.

When I say I can’t sense the difference between dry fire and live fire I’m referring to my ability to sense grip tension.  I can certainly feel the wrist tremors during live fire.  There’s nothing I can consciously do to make them stop.

I completely agree that, in a perfect world, my wrist joint should be stationary.  The fact that I can see small errors in alignment during blank wall dry fire means that I’m not a perfect machine.  I’m aware of those errors during the drill and try to compensate for them while I squeeze and wait for the hammer to fall.  I thought maintaining sight alignment through trigger squeeze was the whole point of the blank wall exercise.  

You’re telling me that the tiny alignment errors I see are coming from my trigger finger and hand, not my wrist?  Certainly plausible but I hadn’t considered the likelihood.  I would expect trigger finger and grip induced errors to be somewhat systematic - always trending in the same direction as muscles tighten.  What I see appears to be more random - like noise in the system.

I’ll try to examine things in more detail.  If I find something important I’ll be sure to post it.

In the meantime I’ll incorporate your suggestions into my training program and get back to the grind.

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Post by willnewton 7/24/2021, 9:28 am

Apologies for any confusion I caused a few posts back, crmath.  I left a note on your post about it.  When you are an Admin, pushing the wrong button can lead to some “Uh oh” moments.
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Post by crmath 7/24/2021, 12:45 pm

Ed,

Thanks for your reply.  Much of your advice aligns with what CR had to say.  I’m a retired engineer and I learned long ago that when two domain experts independently agree on a topic there’s cause for celebration.  

You added detail in a couple of areas and your perspective on what might be termed ‘assertive’ trigger control is vital.  Throughout my shooting career I’ve struggled to maintain an assertive mindset.  I know I perform better but my personality tends towards letting the game come to me.  I recall a specific instance where such a lapse cost me a win in the Michigan State Highpower Championship.  One of my first couple of shots standing was a seven.  No excuses, I just let it happen.  My words to myself were “Hold harder, d****t”.  Ninety odd shots later I was short one point.

Your words on developing and embracing a more determined trigger squeeze sure hit close to home!  “I resemble that remark”.

Back to the problem at hand.  As I asked CR, would you expect alignment error from trigger squeeze or grip tension to be in a single direction with increasing magnitude?  The small misalignment that I try to manage while dry firing seems to be random.  I do occasionally see a small jump as the sear breaks; when I do I remind myself to pull straight back and the next shot is usually stable.  This part of my technique clearly needs work, but it’s not the element I started this thread to solve.

The big, and truly debilitating issue is a tremor in my hold, all in my wrist, that builds as I squeeze, and may exceed the 6-ring in width.  I’d say it’s mostly from 8:00 to 2:00 and fast enough to look like a pink streak when I use an ultradot.  I don’t experience anything like it when I dry fire unless I intentionally grip as hard as I can or push myself to muscle fatigue.

I need to separate this issue from the rest of the fundamentals or I’ll be stuck forever.

Thanks for the help.

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Post by crmath 7/24/2021, 12:56 pm

Everyone,

Thanks for the informed and insightful replies.

Not once did anyone say “Stop doing that”!

There’s a lot here for me to digest and a level of detail that extends beyond my superficial understanding of precision pistol.  There’s a Master pistol shooter inside me; I need to find a way to let him out.

Please  keep this topic in mind and post something new if you think of it.  I especially need help with the live fire wrist tremor.  One way or another it has to go.  Otherwise, I’ll never be able to address the important refinements you all describe.

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Post by DA/SA 7/24/2021, 1:09 pm

Have you thought about a .22 conversion for your 1911 as a training aid? The very minimal recoil impulse and report may be a step between dry fire and the .45 to aid in the psychological part.

Also, if you are gripping the pistol by it's sides, you might try more of a front to back grip. This way you can lighten your grip a bit and use the pressure applied to your four pound trigger to seat the pistol back against the main part of your hand and stabilize the pistol.

Every hand is a bit different, but with larger hands it works well.
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Post by TomH_pa 7/24/2021, 1:13 pm

I suffer from the same problem a lot of the time, especially in the .22 part of 2700 since it the first thing in the morning. Sometimes my hand is still shaking resting on the bench block...kind of like a chainsaw idling Very Happy 
What I have found is that there is a short period of time where the dot/sight is still enough to make a good shot. ...but and this is a big "but" I have to be ready and committed to make that early shot before the "red streak" shows up. 
For me it would be equal to shooting an offhand rifle shot as you're lowering the sights into the bull...or close.

My advice does not belong on the same page as Jon, CR, or Ed but I think I may see things from the same side of the fence as you are.

For me at least, almost none of the technical aspects I learned to become a Distinguished Rifleman help me in Bullseye pistol.

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Post by crmath 7/24/2021, 2:44 pm

DA/SA,

Thanks for the reply and the suggestions.

I do have a Nelson conversion for my 1911s.  My intention is to use it for .22 competition as well as practice until I get a few more issues worked out.  Kind of like the old adage “Shoot .22 and hardball until you’re distinguished and an old shooter in the NTT”.  Except that I’m using the same trigger for .22 and Service Pistol.

I’m sure there’s no pressure from the palm of my hand - there’s a little air space there.  There may be some from my fingertips, I’ll have to check.  If there is some this could be an opportunity to improve.  My hand is small enough that I need a short trigger to achieve a straight back pull, so my options are a bit limited.

I appreciate your insight, it’s much appreciated.

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Post by crmath 7/24/2021, 3:09 pm

Tom,

Thanks for the personal email, it brought back some fond memories.  Reade was a great place to learn to shoot.  The west coast guys often thought that it was much easier to make HM in the East where the wind never blows.  We Reade alumni who got to travel west and did pretty well kind of changed their minds.

Thanks also for the suggestion regarding shortening the interval between my initial hold and firing the shot. I’ve noticed the short, stable window myself.  I’m a little leery of using it because I don’t feel in control.  I used that method early on in my highpower days with some success.  Through the years I came to discover that if I allowed my hold to settle a little I could then apply assertive trigger control with much better results.  The difference in timing isn’t much, hardly more than a second, but it made the difference between in control and teetering at the edge of a cliff.  I see the same thing when I dry fire with a pistol, but it doesn’t carry over to live fire.

During live fire I see no tremor at all until I begin my squeeze.  The ensuing disturbance is more like a jackhammer than an idling chainsaw.

Hold hard,

Bob

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Post by Soupy44 7/24/2021, 4:41 pm

crmath,

I came to bullseye from smallbore, so I sympathize with what you are going through.  Here are a few things I had to accept and focus on before I was happy:

1 - It took me much longer than I though to be comfortable with the violence of the recoil.  2 or 3 times I though I was finally comfortable with it.  I'm happier now, but still curious if there will be another level.  As Cecil said, rifle uses the whole body to support and absorb, now you have an arm.  For me, understanding that recoil to a higher level has my first mental breakthrough.

2 - Pistol triggers and trigger technique is simply different from rifle.  After coming from 2oz two-stage triggers, everything on a BE gun felt like complete crap.  "Keep the trigger moving" is the phrase I chewed on for a while and has helped me.  Taking shots in pistol is a lot more deliberate than in rifle for me.  I feel the action of pulling the trigger was passive in rifle, but boarders on active in pistol.  Shooting a friend's long roll trigger was educational for me and fixed a lot.

3 - "Area aiming" is another phrase that helped me.  Obviously the best comparison in rifle is standing, and the advice to not break the shot in the center, but to break it in the center of your hold.  It helped me to break this into steps due to my struggles with numbers 1 and 2.  I started with break the shot in the general vicinity of the black, then just hit the black, and so on.  It felt like going back to being a beginning standing shooter.  

4 - Grip is your position.  A barely perceptible shift in your grip is like turning your NPA 10deg in rifle.  If you are just starting out, you are building your position right now, and are likely just a little off here and there, and to my untrained ears, might be gripping a bit too hard.  Your grip will strengthen over time, so no need to squeeze the sap out right now.  Loosen up slightly for now if that removes the shakes and build that strength over time.

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Post by Wobbley 7/24/2021, 5:24 pm

Bob:  You might be gripping incorrectly.  My grip force is applied primarily by the middle third of my fingers (the intermediate phalanges)  and my fingertips don’t apply much pressure at all. As a test, I gripped three fingers of a friend as hard as I grip my 45 and they said “ouch” but little to no pressure from the fingertips or the other parts of the hand except the heel and the mass at the base of the thumb.  The middle third of my fingers is on the front strap.  The gun will recoil but the vast majority of the movement is well after the bullet has left the barrel. HiSpeed videos confirm this.  You can’t stop it, you might be able to control it.

And this brings up another issue you might have, recoil anticipation.  
You say you don’t get this tremor when dry firing(or as bad), but you do when live firing.  Several folks have gone through that.  There are techniques to put that genie back in his bottle.  One of them is to buy a case of 230 Hardball and shoot it up 100 rounds at a time.  The other is to just work through it, accept the recoil (it ain’t going away), and learn to control the anticipation.  Both require about the same number of bullets.  Both succeed.  One takes longer.  

As a rifle shooter myself, it took me a bit of doing to accept the “area of aim” concept, but once I learned to recognize the arc of movement settling down and releasing the shot then, I began to get better results.  Shoot for 10s (or 9s if that’s your skill level)  the Xes will take care of themselves.  Oh and just shoot slowfire on the 25 yard B8 target until you get this under control.
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Post by Jack H 7/24/2021, 5:55 pm

DA/SA wrote:Have you thought about a .22 conversion for your 1911 as a training aid? The very minimal recoil impulse and report may be a step between dry fire and the .45 to aid in the psychological part.

Also, if you are gripping the pistol by it's sides, you might try more of a front to back grip. This way you can lighten your grip a bit and use the pressure applied to your four pound trigger to seat the pistol back against the main part of your hand and stabilize the pistol.

Every hand is a bit different, but with larger hands it works well.

Let me emphasize a press forward with that main part of your hand.  You should have a point on both middle finger and ring finger pressing straight back on the front strap.  And a point near the base of the thump pressing straight forward on the backstrap.  The press forward will stiffen the wrist.
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Post by TomH_pa 7/24/2021, 9:34 pm

Bob,
I think you might have hit the nail on the head with your comment about not feeling in control shooting that early hold/shot. That's exactly how I feel most of the time. It's the most unsettling part of pistol shooting compared to rifle but it might also be the most important part.

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Post by CR10X 7/25/2021, 8:04 am

OK, this is a pretty good discussion (in my opinion) and why shooters on military teams progress much faster overall.  They have someone there to talk to to work through all the possibilities and ideas to address shooting issues.

And by the way, when Ed "Too Tall" Hall talks, I always look up and listen.    Wrist Control  1f609 

Bob, I'd suggest making a list of things that you see and feel (which you have started here) that are different when you live fire versus dryfiring.  Then you can methodically work your way through the suggestions as you apply changes to your technique.  Its called a journal in simplistic terms.

Now as to the wrist issue again, since you mentioned it again in your responses.  Moving the wrist to help control or "aim" the pistol is a natural action, and NOT recommended at all for precision pistol shooting.   If you are actually moving your wrist, then you need a training solution to address that.  So, back to dryfiring, but only concentrate on the wrist position.  Make that your thought as you operate the trigger.  Now if the wrist is stable and you still see movement then you may have some sympathetic movement happening from the trigger operation or from sympathetic motions of the gripping fingers as the trigger finger operates.

To get a grip (pun intended) on the correct feelings and see what's happening try this.  Take the first two fingers of your non-shooting hand and stick them straight out.  Then grip those two fingers with the shooting hand (just like it was your pistol grip) and leave the trigger finger extended and above the two extended fingers of the off hand.  Grip the extended  fingers with the same pressure that you use for the gun.  Now, operate your trigger finger just like you were pulling the trigger.  

You will now feel what is happening to the grip (gun) as you operate the trigger.  You will probably feel changes in pressure or tension and if you vary the speed of the trigger press motion, you can see how it changes.  You can look at the underside of your wrist and probably see the tendons under the skin moving as you operate the trigger. And you can see other tendons moving as you change your grip pressure.

So this exercise will give you some more feedback and insight into what's happening so you can work on maintain a consistent grip and stationary wrist position as the trigger is operated.

Now, on to live firing.  As the excitement (lets not use a negative term here) increases as we transition from dryfiring to live firing, we get a whole new level of awareness (feelings, vision, mental processes, etc. ) due to our heightened state.   In other words, we may notice things more, get more feedback, go into over-control, etc.   What we need to do is go back to the feelings that we had when dryfiring and doing the hand exercise above.  It takes time an effort to get to that point since we are actively investing a lot of effort and energy into an actual shot, and we feel the pressure to "do it right".  So one starting point is to just say "do it like I dry fired" as you process every shot.

The major difference between shooters that shoot well and competitors that score well in matches and those that don't is that the good shooters are relaxed and shoot (and have scores) equal or better than they do when training.  That's not technique, that's mental state and outlook.  So when shooting live fire, just relax, don't try, just imagine dry firing.

Another trick for grip pressure,  the body likes equilibrium.  So when dryfiring, hold a magazine in your off hand.  Grip the magazine with the same force as you grip your pistol for a dry firing exercise once in a while.  If you feel a difference in the pressure between the two hands, stop and think about what's happening at the gun.   

Lastly, too many people dry (and live fire) way too fast.  You should allow a full 30 seconds or so between shots.  Mainly to mentally review the way you want the shot process to unfold the next time, but also to allow the muscles to recuperate and be replenished with an appropriate amount of blood flow.  This reduces fatigue and gives the nerves a chance to get back to a more normal chemical state. 

And lastly, if you are not doing so, wear ear plugs (foam) AND muffs when live shooting.  You might be surprised how much this can help.

Hope some of this helps.  It's like a free garden, pick what you want see if you like it. 

CR


Last edited by CR10X on 7/25/2021, 11:01 am; edited 1 time in total

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